Cotton Candy soon became the most popular food choice at carnivals, amusement parks, fairgrounds or circuses. Its fibrous texture makes it unique among other sugar confectioneries.
From the early 1900's, when Thomas Patton received a separate patent for his work with caramelized sugar and forming long threads of it with a fork. He later used a gas-fired rotating plate to spin the threads.
Due to the lack of automated machines that could produce enough products for widespread distribution prior to the 1970s, cotton candy was only produced on a small scale.
Then, in 1972, a cotton candy machine for automatic manufacture and packaging was patented. In our company acquisition of the Original Dan's Cotton Candy business, we are proud to say we also acquired that original patent.
Today, cotton candy is available in many different flavors including Banana, Raspberry, Vanilla, Watermelon, and Chocolate. Both artificial and natural flavors may be used for the production of these flavors. Then, in 1972, a cotton candy machine for automatic manufacture and packaging was patented.
It allowed the mass production of cotton candy. Tootsie Roll of Canada Ltd., the world’s largest Cotton Candy manufacturer at that time, created a fluffy stuff, fruit-flavored version of Cotton Candy.
Cotton Candy and Hawaiian Shave Ice
On one of our trips searching for The Best Shave Ice Flavors, we encountered a Shave Ice hut in Oahu where we watched cotton candy being made, and shortly after the fairy floss was made, it was rolled into a loaf, and cut into strips much like sawing through a log.
Next, the slice of Cotton Candy was placed in the bottom of a bowl, and a scoop of homemade Vanilla ice cream was placed on top, and then the treat was finished with a Hugh mound of Shave Ice, and finished with flavors and various fresh fruit toppings.
Yes, you read that right. This is the most unique frozen desert we have ever had. Don't miss this if you are in Oahu or Kihei.
Think of a Hawaiian saved ice, ColdStone ice cream, frozen yogurt combination that comes out like cold cotton candy. Once we tasted this, we knew it was something we wanted to add to our Flavor Collections.
In 2018, we found that historic barn where those earlier machines from the closing of Coney Island was stored. We also learned that one of the grand kids had in fact been trying to re-build the Dan's Cotton Candy brand.
We later purchased the last three kiosks known to exist with Dan's Cotton Candy, along with the Fairy Floss Flavor recipes and all media known to date that the owner had. We even acquired the prototype machine for which the second, re-tuned burner element that was used in the patent application.
The new patented process is not a secret we plan to hide under the counter. We are proud to be the new home for Dan's Cotton Candy, and find the revived method to be a croud pleaser, both for show and for taste.
In this new process, essentially "wings" were welded on the sides of the spinning machine, in a precise pitch, and when the machine spins the Fairy Floss, heat is applied directly to the bottom of the burner element as the machine head spins.
Following the original method, we use a special wood stick about 18" long, and the Fairy Floss sticks to the stick like glue, and 4' to 5' Cotton Candy treats can be easily created. We fell in love with this process, and our offer was accepted. We purchased the business model, inventory, receipes, and kiosks. We purchased three of these kiosks, and began to find a way to move this business to California.
Everything seemed to be going well for our launch at the local fair the following month, but we suffered a major setback.
"The best way I could explain what happened next, is the previous business owner decided at the last minute to save on shipping costs, and the kiosks were unboxed from thier original shipping crates, and when they arrived at the docks in Long Beach, CA there were only two kiosks. We then learned that one was stolen along the way, and for the other two, they looked like they had been dropped from a second story building". The damage to the two remaining kiosks was extensive.
"We had a family meeting and wondered if we should even take on this new project. After all, our Shave Ice company was going well, and we were just about to launch our new catalog of Authentic Shave Ice Concentrates to the public. Did we need another vending type of product after all?
The vote was unanimous. Store the damaged products and focus on our 10 year history of selling Authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice in California and the surrounding states. Continue to focus on our Authentic Flavors, and our customers that have us back year after year.
We now own the patent for this unique process of Cotton Candy delivery, so we decided to take a short rest from this project and see which direction is best to continue this long standing family tradition.
“Cotton candy is a popular food at carnivals, amusement parks, fairgrounds or circuses. Its fibrous texture makes it unique among sugar confectioneries. Sugar confectioneries have been made for thousands of years, but the invention of cotton candy is a relatively recent event. Sweet colored rings which resembled molten glass in appearance, the predecessor to cotton candy, were developed by European chefs. They were sticky and could be made in many shapes.
Cotton candy was improved when the sugar industry advanced. The first electrical cotton candy machine was invented in 1897 by William Morrison and John C. Wharton, when they presented cotton candy to a wide audience at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair as Fairy Floss with great success, selling 68.655 boxes at the then-high 25$, which was half of the cost of admission to the fair.
"For me, I kept remembering that story, and the rich cultural ties to the early 1900's, and if a second generation grandson could have dreamed to revive this legend, that we should obligate ourselves to complete the project, and bring that Coney Island tradition to the western US states. In particular, we wanted to see Dan's Cotton Candy in a new home such as Santa Monica Pier or one of the other famous locations along Pacific Coast Highway.".
With all of the stories and history lessons we have learned about Cotton Candy so far, our diligence in reviving at least one of these kiosks was our motivation. The previous, second generation owner of Dan's worked with a company in England to re manufacture the original parts into a new machine design, but most important to us was to come up with a new concept of delivery that has some of the California flair. Iconic places such as Route 66, The Santa Monica Pier, and The San Francisco Pier inspired us to create a new kiosk design, featuring the iconic Volkswagen Bus. See the photo of our new kiosk prototype in the photo to the left.